Gefilte fish gets a retro-chic makeover

The Jewish Chronicle - - World News -

IN BROOK­LYN, three Jewish food­ies are re­viv­ing oldworld dishes for a new, en­vi­ron­men­tally-aware gen­er­a­tion.

Liz Alpern, Jackie Lilin­shtein and Jef­frey Yoskowitz, founders of the Ge­filte­ria, are of­fer­ing up tra­di­tional Ashke­nazi foods with a twist.

Their gefilte, kvass, black and white cook­ies and other del­i­ca­cies are made with sus­tain­ably sourced in­gre­di­ents, and their sales pitch is aimed at the young and eco-con­scious.

“We all grew up eat­ing borscht and gefilte in jars, and rarely tasted the po­ten­tial of what these foods could be,” says Mr Yoskowitz. “Sim­ply by mak­ing them with fresh in­gre­di­ents we are of­fer­ing an up­date… Our gen­er­a­tion is de­mand­ing food crafted in an ar­ti­sanal way that ac­counts for health and sus­tain­abil­ity.”

The Ge­filte­ria’s gefilte is made from white­fish and pike sourced from the Great Lakes, and with wild salmon from Canada. For the pick­led veg­eta­bles, the three friends are re­viv­ing the method of lacto-fer­men­ta­tion. “Most sauer­kraut or kosher dill pick­les are made with vine­gar,” ex­plains Mr Yoskowitz. “Ours are made with salt or salt water brines.” The kvass is in­fused with gin­ger and mixed with cock­tails and the friends have cre­ated a kosher-for-passover ver­sion of the black and white cookie, an iconic New York sweet.

Mr Yoskowitz is con­vinced that the Ge­filte­ria will en­cour­age a younger gen­er­a­tion of Jews — as well as nonJews — to re­dis­cover the Ashke­nazi culi­nary her­itage.

“We’ve had many non-jews at our tast­ing events and they have loved the food,” he says.

But what about more staunch tra­di­tion­al­ists, like Jewish grannies? Mr Yoskowitz made gefilte with his grand­mother for Passover last year and he says she was “ec­static” that her grand­son was tak­ing an in­ter­est in the foods of her past.

As part of their re­search, the three friends spent a day mak­ing borscht with Ms Lilin­shtein’s grand­mother in her home in Brighton Beach, a Rus­sian neigh­bour­hood in Brook­lyn.

Ms Lilin­shtein’s fam­ily was pleas­antly sur­prised when they sam­pled the Ge­filte­ria’s kvass, and Ms Alpern’s fam­ily is “all-round ex­cited about the ven­ture and is grate­ful to have such a bal­a­busta in the fam­ily”.

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